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Lydia Ko Scoops Top Honour At Westpac Halberg Awards

13 February 2014

Lydia Ko Scoops Top Honour At Westpac Halberg Awards

Golf prodigy Lydia Ko has taken the supreme honours at the 51st Westpac Halberg Awards at Vector Arena in Auckland tonight.

The golf star who went professional at aged 16 in 2013 was named the 'High Performance Sport New Zealand Sportswoman of the Year' before claiming the Halberg Award honours.

To win the supreme award Ko headed off other Halberg Award contenders; IndyCar champion and 'High Performance Sport New Zealand Sportsman of the Year' winner, Scott Dixon, 'Halberg Disability Sport Foundation Disabled Sportsperson of the Year' winner, Sophie Pascoe and 'Westpac Team of the Year' winner, the All Blacks.

Ko, who won three tournaments in 2013 including defending her Canadian Open title, received the news of her success during a live video link from the awards ceremony to Melbourne where she is playing in the Women's Australian Open.

To take the High Performance Sport New Zealand Sportswoman of the Year Award honours, Ko edged out three-time Halberg Award winner Valerie Adams, world champion canoeist Lisa Carrington and swimmer Lauren Boyle.

It was also a big night for the All Blacks who capped off an undefeated 2013 season by winning the Westpac Team of the Year, SKY SPORT Coach of the Year (Steven Hansen) awards, while Captain Richie McCaw was honoured with the Sport New Zealand Leadership Award.

The Black Sox winning the Softball World Championship was selected as New Zealand's Favourite Sporting Moment of 2013 in the only Westpac Halberg Award category determined solely by public vote.

Para swimmer Sophie Pascoe took home the Halberg Disability Sport Foundation Disabled Sportsperson of the Year Award for the third consecutive year. Pascoe's five gold medals at the IPC World Championships saw her take the award ahead of fellow para swimming world champion Mary Fisher, blind bowling world champion David Monk and para shooting world record holder Mike Johnson.

Scott Dixon who was IndyCar champion for a third time in 2013 won the High Performance Sport New Zealand Sportsman of the Year category ahead of IRB Player of the Year, All Black Kieran Read, world number one eventing champion Andrew Nicholson and track cycling world champion Aaron Gate.

Fourteen year old swimmer Gabrielle Fa'amausili received the Westpac Emerging Talent award and a $10,000 Westpac sporting scholarship. The category, designed to identify and assist a young athlete in their quest to become an Olympic, Paralympic and/or World Champion, and hopefully one day win the Halberg Award was closely contested by surfer Ella Williams, rower Tom Murray and motorcyclist Jake Lewis.

During the awards ceremony former All Black Jonah Lomu and Olympic champion cyclist Sarah Ulmer were inducted into the New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame. They were presented with their honours by Dame Susan Devoy (squash) and Bryan Williams (rugby).

Graham Sycamore of Invercargill was recognised with the Lion Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award for over 50 years of service to cycling. The Southerner has been involved as a competitor, administration and commissaire including officiating at six World Championships, seven Commonwealth Games and three Olympic Games.

The Eagles Golfing Society of New Zealand, who began their support of the Halberg Disability Sport Foundation more than 40 years ago, presented the Foundation with a cheque for $150,517.06, lifting their support since 1969 to more than $4.1million.

This donation, coupled with proceeds raised from the 51st Westpac Halberg Awards will assist with the core work of the Halberg Disability Sport Foundation. The charity, set up by Olympic champion Sir Murray Halberg (ONZ), aims to enhance the lives of physically disabled New Zealanders by enabling them to participate in sport and recreation.

The full list of winners and finalists for the 51st Westpac Halberg Awards:

Halberg Award winner: Lydia Ko (Golf)
Finalists: Scott Dixon (High Performance Sport New Zealand Sportsman of the Year), Sophie Pascoe (Halberg Disability Sport Foundation Disabled Sportsperson of the Year), All Blacks (Westpac Team of the Year).

High Performance Sport New Zealand Sportswoman of the Year winner: Lydia Ko (Golf)
Finalists: Lauren Boyle (Swimming), Lisa Carrington (Canoeing), Valerie Adams (Athletics).

High Performance Sport New Zealand Sportsman of the Year winner: Scott Dixon (Motorsport)
Finalists: Aaron Gate (Cycling), Andrew Nicholson (Equestrian), Kieran Read (Rugby).

Halberg Disability Sport Foundation Disabled Sportsperson of the Year winner: Sophie Pascoe (Para Swimming)
Finalists: David Monk (Blind Bowling), Mary Fisher (Para Swimming), Mike Johnson (Para Shooting).

Westpac Team of the Year winner: All Blacks (Rugby)
Finalists: Black Sox (Softball), Men's Pair Hamish Bond and Eric Murray (Rowing), Women's 470 - Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie (Yachting) and Men's 49er Class Team - Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (Yachting).

SKY SPORT Coach of the Year winner: Steve Hansen (Rugby)
Finalists: Eddie Kohlhase (Softball), Guy Wilson (Golf), Nathan Handley (Yachting).

Westpac Emerging Talent winner: Gabrielle Fa'amausili (Swimming)
Finalists: Ella Williams (Surfing), Jake Lewis (Motorcycling), Tom Murray (Rowing)

New Zealand's Favourite Sporting Moment winner: Black Sox (Softball)
Finalists: SKYCITY Breakers (Basketball), Steven Adams (Basketball), Chiefs (Rugby), Emirates Team New Zealand (Yachting), All Blacks vs South Africa (Rugby), Lydia Ko (Golf), Scott Dixon (Motorsport), Kiwis (Rugby League), All Blacks vs Ireland (Rugby)

Sport New Zealand Leadership Award: Richie McCaw (Rugby)

New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame induction: Jonah Lomu (Rugby) and Sarah Ulmer (Cycling)

Lion Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award: Graham Sycamore (Cycling)

For full eligibility and judging criteria go to www.halbergawards.co.nz

Halberg Disability Sport Foundation
The Halberg Disability Sport Foundation (formerly the Halberg Trust) changed its name in October 2012 to clearly acknowledge the organisation's work as lead agency for sport and recreation for physically disabled New Zealanders.

About the Westpac Halberg Awards
Named after Olympic champion Sir Murray Halberg (ONZ), the Westpac Halberg Awards is the country's pre-eminent event to honour and celebrate New Zealand sporting excellence. It also provides the Halberg Disability Sport Foundation with a flagship fundraising opportunity for Sir Murray's charity, which aims to enhance the lives of physically disabled New Zealanders by enabling them to participate in sport and recreation. For more information go towww.halbergawards.co.nz or www.halberg.co.nz

ENDS

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